Qatar says Gaza ceasefire talks at ‘delicate phase’

By Thomson Reuters Apr 17, 2024 | 5:35 AM

DUBAI (Reuters) – Qatari Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said on Wednesday talks on a Gaza ceasefire and a release of hostages are at a “delicate phase”.

“We are trying as much as possible to address this stumbling block,” he added, without giving further details.

Qatar’s premier condemned what he described as the policy of “collective punishment” still followed by Israel in its war against the enclave’s ruling Palestinian Islamist group Hamas and the latest escalation in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

The ceasefire discussions, mediated by Qatar and Egypt, are continuing as a humanitarian crisis devastates Palestinians in Gaza with severe shortages of food, medicine and hospital care.

The war was triggered when Hamas burst into southern Israel from Gaza on Oct. 7, killed 1,200 people and took 253 hostages into the enclave, according to Israeli tallies. Israel has retaliated by pounding Gaza in an air and ground offensive which has killed almost 34,000 Palestinians, according to Gaza health authorities.

(Reporting by Clauda Tanios and Jana Choukeir; editing by Mark Heinrich)